Nov

22

Barnard On Lockdown

Written by

Barnard’s campus has been fortified! Fearing unrest related to the Barnard General Assembly planned for this evening by Occupy Columbia, extraordinary security measures are currently being enforced. Barnard Hall has been closed, there is an NYPD car and police barricades in front of the 117th street gate, and Public Safety officers are checking IDs at the gate to make sure the only people allowed into Barnard’s campus are those with Barnard (or Columbia) IDs. There’s also a tent a few feet away from the gates where Barnard students can sign in guests, as they would into their dorms. But if you don’t have a Barnard ID and you’re not signed in by a Barnard student, you’re not allowed in. Even Barnard students walking around on their own campus attract suspicion. One Bwogger reports that while idly standing under the Sulzberger awning, a Public Safety officer approached her, demanding to know what she was doing.

The Occupiers are going ahead with their meeting, and are currently holding a General Assembly in the basement of the Diana. According to organizers, they initially planned to hold a protest General Assembly in front of Barnard Hall, but Public Safety informed them that demonstrations are not allowed in front of the building. They moved to the Diana, where Public Safety officers checked their IDs once again. Public Safety officers and Barnard administrators are lingering just outside the meeting space, where protesters are reportedly discussing Barnard’s elimination of part-time enrollment, Barnard’s mandatory meal plans, tenure and benefits for adjunct faculty, and police harassment.

Tags: , , , , , ,

70 Comments

    • not so fast  

      This is part of a few trends. First, the funding and expansion of campus security (numbers from UCDavis, but these are national trends): "An Assistant Professor earns an annual salary in the low $60,000 range; a Lieutenant in the campus safety department (the man who fired the pepper gas, for instance) brings home $110,000. "
      Second, don't dismiss the occupy movement off hand. Student protest (esp. when linked to broader movements) has historically resulted in significant rights gains.

      http://www.counterpunch.org/2011/11/22/violence-goes-to-college/

      • Anonymous  

        Not to mention the fact that the grad students who teach most of the classes, from U Writing and Lit Hum on upwards, get paid $25,000 a year, at most. Which is pretty scummy, methinks.

  1. Anonymous  

    Erm... just to state the obvious... this seems like a pretty massive over-reaction on Barnard's part.

  2. Anonymous

    this also sort of makes occupy columbia sound more like a play date than a protest

  3. Anonymous  

    Let's get this shit started

    >Barnard

  4. Anonymous  

    I'm a first year and what is this

  5. Anonymous

    "According to organizers, they initially planned to hold a protest in front of Barnard Hall, but Public Safety informed them that demonstrations are not allowed in front of the building."

    ^misinformation: please correct that a general assembly was to take place, not a protest.

  6. nwbar

    Occupy the Diana!

    Do you understand how much effort it took to get in? Those blocking us at the door. Those who said we weren't allowed in for safety reasons. Why do we need you? Who do you protect? No one. We're adults, we can stay here without "protection," thank you very much.

    What if they make us leave? What if, after a night in the Diana, security forces us out, to walk home in shame? Will we admit defeat? Never. Tomorrow we'll be back in the Diana, and then they'll throw us out. Will that be it? No. Back in, and then back out. In and out, in and out, over and over again, faster and faster until finally our country and our university come together. Occupy the Diana!

    Labia majora.

  7. OurTuitionIsTooDamnHigh

    This isn't going to stop anytime soon. Columbia/Barnard need to wake up to the fact that our tuition is exploitively high, and our school will do anything it can to keep this system in place. The students at Baruch College are standing up to this; Columbia/Barnard students need to get our asses down to where the action is, and stop pretending we're not a part of the problem.

    • Anonymous  

      It's not like the university doesn't give out grants to students who need it... and plus, it's not like the majority of students here didn't come from private schools with tuition just as high anyway... people chose to come here knowing that the tuition is extremely high when they knew very well what their options were when deciding where to enroll. SUNY Columbia? No thanks.

      • hmm

        You're definitely wrong on the admissions statistics. I don't know the number, but I vaguely recall the fraction of students coming from private schools to be in the ballpark of a half. It certainly isn't the majority. In any event the cost-- and my intuition says you're right in your last sentence to implicitly identity it as a matter of culture (evidenced by the number of other institutions, including even online "universities" without any physical infrastructure to sustain that have migrated to it)-- is exorbitant.

        • Anonymous  

          I also vaguely recall that they were part of the half that didn't need the financial assistance. I also vaguely recall that 50.99999999999% was roughly in the ballpark of a half which just so happens to be the majority. In any event, the cost---and my intuition says that physical infrastructure is a completely different topic--- was no surprise to anyone who chose to enroll here.

          FBG$$$$$

      • what  

        what are you taking about? half of this whole thing (pertaining to barnard, at least) is over the abrupt, atrociously timed change in the part-time policy. POLICY. yeah, i said it. and it was the same with the meal plan two years ago. this is about the total opposite of barnard being sympathetic to students' financial issues; it's about them ruthlessly EXPLOITING students financially.

      • I say, old chum  

        SUNY Columbia indeed! Let's make sure the riff-raff stay far away from Morningside Heights. Did you hear they've actually admitted students that have never been to a country club? Why, I never!

        You'll be pleased to know that I made fun of a lower-class undergrad's tattered shirt this morning! Ho ho ho!

    • Anonymous

      Damn exploitative non-for-profits

    • Anonymous

      I still hate how Barnard thinks they are Columbia. My boss asked if I knew any Columbia students who wanted an internship and so I put the word out on facebook, and when we were going through the resumes that came in 2 out of the 3 Barnard girls that applied put Columbia down. Class of 2013' Columbia University in the city of New York (Barnard). That is simply not an acceptable resume bullet point, it makes you look like a wannabe ivy leaguer. And shame on the career center if they are promoting this.

  8. policy's sticks

    protect those sit on the board, point at the vulnerable.

  9. Barnard '14  

    To all the #occupybarnard women out there who call themselves feminists: chill. You all need to reevaluate what the major problems facing women in the world today are. There are women who are tricked or physically forced into sex trafficking. There exist communities where the belief permeates that HIV can be cured by having sex with a virginal woman, leading to the rape of not only women but young girls and sometimes even babies. A disparate exists in even our country among middle-income Americans where American women are still on the whole getting paid less than men for the same job.
    Now take a step back. You go to Barnard, a private women's college that provides excellent career and academic opportunities to you. Your tuition costs as much as it does because you're willing to pay that much to attend. You are one of the most privileged women in America, and probably the world. What do you have so much to complain about?

    • ohai red herring

      One in four American women will be/has been raped or sexually assaulted, but because Barnard women have more privilege than other women somewhere ("there exist communities") they should just shut up? It's not some kind of oppression Olympics.

      The fact that other people have it worse doesn't invalidate the fact that when these privileged Barnard women graduate, if they can find jobs at all, they are going to earn less on average, for similar work, than the privileged men at Columbia will earn (if they can find jobs). Newsflash: It's not just "middle-income" women who earn less than their male counterparts.

      Feminism has plenty of work left to do at all strata of society.

    • nwbar

      Oh come on. The one thing that I actually learned in the core was that if you can make the same point about anything (Plato/Abrahamic Religions/Wollstonecraft are MISOGYNIST), it's probably not really worthwhile or relevant.

      It's a basic fact that the world is a fucked up place full of terrible things and terrible people and someone has always got it worse than you, but that doesn't mean you don't have a point. Are you going to say people shouldn't be upset about the security overreaction to student protest because in China they send in tanks and start shooting? (I know you didn't say anything about the police, but I think it's apt).

      These women probably wouldn't deny that they accepted certain things when they decided to attend. A high sticker price for tuition is one of those. But I think they also feel that the terms they agreed to have been changed, and there are definitely some people who went in with a plan for keeping costs down (I'll cook my own food and go part-time the last semester) who can't, and through no fault of their own.

      So to horribly, horribly mangle Dr. King, an injustice anywhere is an injustice anywhere, but the fact that there's an injustice somewhere else doesn't mean there's not an injustice here.

      (And the whole thing about what the rule actually has been is silly. There are no real rules in any organization, only accepted practice, because if the rules were followed to the letter there would be no students because some office would be in deadlock with another, each waiting for another to do a step they're required to do before they can proceed. It's just paper with some excuses mixed in.)

    • ...  

      who said anything about feminism? this is about exploitative financial practices at an institution that happens to be all-female. (though the fact that the mission of said institution is to foster women's self-reliance makes the whole thing especially ironic.)

    • Anonymous

      To point out another fly in the ointment: as a former lower-middle income student who got duped by a lot of Barnard's policy changes (denial of financial aid after moving off campus to save money, mandatory meal plan even for commuters senior year, etc.) I can definitely attest to the trouble this has wrought in my life, both during and post-college. A lot of us DON'T have the money to spare, but went in with a much different financial aid package (and many different policies) than we are emerging with. My financial aid was essentially taken away my last two years, and then I was forced on a meal plan when I lived an hour from campus. I ended up taking on the burden of an extra $40,000 of unsubsidized loans because what else was I supposed to do?

      As many others have said, yes, we've got it better than a lot of people. But when we're flat broke, can't pay our loans, and much of this could have been prevented by the school that pretended it would help us achieve much more than this, I think it's fair to be angry that we've been duped and want to try to change things.

    • Anonymous  

      why has this been downvoted so many times? this girl speaks the truth

    • Hm  

      This is not about complaining! Is this all people learned from history classes -that movements which take place in more 'civilized,' privileged areas are forms of 'complaint,' while movements in more impoverished regions are fully legitimate reactions? Would you consider the American anti-war movement in the 1960's 'complaining'?

      Complaining is not just 'wanting something that they don't have' -which, nowadays, seems to be how the media wants to characterize the motivation of protest acts. But 'complaining' implies a sense of mere discomfort or uneasiness. I find it hard to believe that members of OWS simply feel 'uncomfortable' about the current tide of American-sponsored corporatism in the international market, or the cruel state of inequality it has carved in American society; People are livid about this. And they do not want to be complicit with this program anymore. I do not mean to start a petty argument about that word, but I repeatedly see it circulated in comments about OWS and I find it inappropriate and misleading when trying to have more fruitful discussions about the movement.

      Also, were you at the meeting? Did you speak to the other students there? If not, why would you assume that occupybarnard women do not consider these issues? I do. VERY actively. I believe they are very relevant to to the issues which OWS is trying to raise in the US, in solidarity with protesters from around the world. The sex-trafficking industry does not operate in a vacuum; it operates side-by-side with market-driven politics which open up massive inequalities across social categories like gender. For example, social structures in place assure men are more likely to leave the home and become economic migrants for labor, where their labor contributes as an export in the national market economy, leaving open the possibility for women to engage in forms of unrestricted migrant work. Obviously it's not as simple as this, but if you want to think actively about how social inequalities operate, you have to examine how these economic forces are controlled socially. In America, these economic forces operate to create divisions like the 1% and the 99%. Let's not even get into the fact that American economics (and its little puppy, American politics) has, and has had in the past century, an astounding effect on the world system as we know it today (three words: cars, McDonald's, and computers).

      I support OWS for even attempting to confront these issues and I'm glad to see that they speak in dialogue with people from around the world.

      Lastly, I just wanted to say that my family's dual-person income doesn't even come close to the tuition here. Stop assuming that we're all privileged because we are here. NO, that's not how education should work. If it has not already become clear to you, OWS is much more than just a 'complaint' about 'class' issues -it's about confronting the 1% who control and benefit from policies of unrestricted corporatism and greed, and forcing that 1% to recognize how they have affected the social reality for the 99%.

      Ahhh there's so much more I could say, but you might hate me at this point! Regardless, you should come out to a General Assembly and share your thoughts, because all we want to do is open a discussion about these issues. It's sad that Barnard feels the need censor dialogue (so silly!), but we want to hear your voice and we'll make sure there's a space for that!

    • ll  

      I see what you're trying to do, but you need to reassess your fucking logic.

  10. Anonymous  

    this is not about "Tuition", this is about the commodification of education (and our lives)

  11. Anonymous  

    Hey Bwog, the "occupiers" were not expressly informed beforehand by any administrative or Public Safety representatives that demonstrations were not allowed in front of Barnard Hall. The Diana was decided on earlier as a rain location.

    • Anonymous

      Sorry, but that's not entirely true. An officer told us to herd ourselves over to the lawn, where protests are "usually" held. We said it was not a protest, but before demanding our rights we decided we'd rather just relocate to the Diana. Shitty rain.

    • Anonymous  

      I don't think bwog is saying that public safety told them beforehand they couldn't do a demonstration or general assembly. It's more like they tried to do it, and then Barnard overreacted, forced them away from Barnard Hall, and then locked it down.

      • exactly  

        All Dspar has done is given students (from any school) a reason to protest in the future. The GAs that columbia tried to put on were small at best but this seems to have given it some legit meaning over night. Its exactly like when Bloomballs came to campus and they allowed him to bring riot cops. I didnt care before but the lack of trust from Lee resulted in the questioning of his policies and the same thing will happen now since all I can do is question DumbSpar's leadership. I am not okay with an administration that does not trust us and reacts with cops first before giving a statement.

  12. Anonymous

    Why did they lock down the campus? I still don't get it, what did they think would happen?

  13. Anonymous  

    okay, this is my problem with the protest.

    A protest is supposed to be a manifestation of massive tension brewing within a society, a boiling-over of desires and sometimes needs that are not being addressed by the "mainstream", an explosion of support for "radical" ideals which are only deemed "radical" because there has not been any avenue of expression for such ideals in less radical ways. A protest under such a definition is a protest that is in my opinion, justified, legitimate, and worthy of being labeled a fruition of our fundamental freedom of speech. Whether or not OWS should be labeled as being a legitimate protest is worthy of debate.

    A protest at Barnard over...."part time enrollment" and "mandatory meal-plans" would utterly fail to convince even the most radical of the radical of its legitimacy. Frankly, the protest is not a culmination of tremendous social tension. It is rather a coming together of those who want the spot light on themselves, those who want to be labeled a protester for the sake of being labeled a protester, those who want to protest for the sake of protesting. They see the "glory" of being a part of an organized group proclaiming to be exercising their freedom of speech and they desperately want a piece of that glory. Even if it means protesting over mandatory meal plans...

    I'm sorry. This protest is an utter disgrace to our freedom of speech. This is precisely what is being argued on the other side, the side that is against freedom of expression and liberty to protest. The stupidity, the futility, the vanity of this protest puts the university here to shame. This is precisely why Columbians do NOT wish to ever be associated with Barnard, an institution corrupted by its vanity and unscrupulous pursuit to prove that they are in every part as intelligent, righteous and socially-aware as their neighbors across the street.

    • Anonymous  

      How can we possibly work to end injustice if we do not pinpoint its specific incarnations, even if they are small and, in your mind, unimportant? First of all, they are actually essential. Second of all, by discussing the meal plan and tuition hikes we are looking into a broader problem of effective lack of financial management and a lack of transparency within the administration. We are asking: how might systems of inequality be perpetuated through these details of tuition? Why does Barnard market itself as a place of endless opportunity and support when it alienates some of its students for whom tuition is a great burden?

      And these were not the only topics that were discussed. We questioned the fact of Debora Spar's role sitting on the board of Goldman Sachs that linked with the meal-plan issue and with tuition issues. Why is Barnard College in such dire financial straits that it must burden its students more when its president is a member of one of the the most elite financial circles in the world? It was brought up that Debora Spar might argue that her job at Goldman Sachs would bring money to Barnard. We question this: why is our education being managed at the top from financial terms? Why is the leader of our institution linking herself to perpetrators of a financial disaster that affects millions? Whether you see her attachment to Goldman Sachs as a good thing (it brings in money and prestige) or not, these all lead to a central idea of the commodification of our education. We see finance as the overriding factor of decision-making at our institution. We see finance, and not a free exchange of ideas, as what governs this place we call home.

      • Anonymous

        >Why is Barnard College in such dire financial straits that it must burden its students more when its president is a member of one of the the most elite financial circles in the world?

        Is your point that your president should be able to just use a publicly traded corporation as Barnard's piggy bank?

        >why is our education being managed at the top from financial terms?

        Have you ever worked on a project with a budget? Everything is managed in financial terms; it's simply how the world works. I don't see how finance and a free exchange of ideas are mutually exclusive though

        • Anonymous  

          First of all, I'm not saying that Debora Spar should use Goldman Sachs as a piggy bank. I'm saying that one argument (that I don't agree with) is that her prestigious place on its board would attract donors to Barnard College and therefore it's acceptable.

          Second of all, I am fully aware that everything needs a budget. I know what finance is. I know that money is not evil and that everything needs financial management. Money is a building block of society. And this is not meant to be a spiritual murder of Debora Spar for being associated with Goldman Sachs. Perhaps she remains unaffected by her position there. But the point is these relationships are highly symbolic. In the financial world, a free exchange of ideas may not be conducive for success. Questioning systems of oppression may not be conducive for success. Therefore, I see a conflict of interest. When large financial institutions--whose point is to make money and NOT ask meaningful questions about our multifaceted and infinitely confusing world--hire people whose job is to foster that pursuit of knowledge...well, you get it.

          I'm also not saying that there isn't knowledge pursuit and production happening at Goldman Sachs. I'm not saying brilliant, moral and wonderful people are not working there and using their skills to play the (to me, dizzying) world of money. This is not a character assassination of all people who work on Wall Street. I think it's a review, a questioning, an inquiry, a world committee on why things are happening. Yes, there are obvious criminals who should be indicted. There are obvious imprisoning systems that should be abolished. But don't think we're so stupid to think that money or success or innovation or entrepreneurship are inherently evil or necessarily flawed. It is the terrible, messy web of inequality they have contributed in producing that require our attention.

          • Anonymous  

            I want to revise my statement slightly: Success and innovation are not contributors to inequality. People who may enjoy fruits of their success and disregard the fates of others are the reason for inequality. I also want to add, that the people on Wall Street aren't the only innovators or entrepreneurs. A specific set of circumstances brought them there. Those who create, who negotiate and who succeed on much smaller levels, and who work hard every day, are not less significant than those who accomplish more visible achievements.

      • Anonymous  

        Do you understand what finance is? Please google finance on wikipedia and read at least the first 3 lines before coming here and throwing yourself into the whole trendy "finance is horrible" crowd.

        the fact that you question Debora's integrity simply because she is in some way associated with goldman sach says as much about you as it says about the banks. It is this kind of prejudice and ignorance that condemns your little parade to be nothing more than just a parade that tries to seek attention on campus. before you guys chant about how corrupt she is in your little cult, take a few seconds to look her up.

        i've been a follower of her publications for a while now. read her articles in the reviews of the international political economy. please be informed before you judge.

        it is the worst kind of cowardice to hide in a little basement, gossiping about one of Barnard's greatest academics, while feeling that much more "hip" about yourselves.

    • Anonymous

      "A protest is supposed to be..."

      A protest is not "supposed" to be anything except what its participants say it is. No one's forcing you to join it if you disagree.

      • Anonymous  

        of course. you can protest about anything you want just like you can do anything you want in life. that still doesn't make all protests worthwhile or significant.

        some protests make me glad that we have freedom of speech. some make me doubt if we should have granted free speech to those who are mentally incapable, morally misguided and socially unaware...

        • Anonymous

          It seems you don't approve of freedom of speech as much as of the speech of a particular few whose interests and opinions you can identify with. That's not freedom of speech, my friend. It would be interesting to know who is included in your enunciation of "we, those who grant free speech."

      • dear everyone  

        WHY IS IT SO HARD FOR YOU PEOPLE TO BE SYMPATHETIC.

        if a party—a school, a service, anything—promises you you will never have to pay a given amount of money, for whatever reason—whether it's because you have a serious food allergy or because you want to intern full-time in your last semester, whatever—it is deceitful and manipulative to instantaneously default on that promise. even if you think the promise was wrong in the first place. *end of story.* people are pissed because it's their health or their money at stake here and barnard's financial pressure is putting both of those things in jeopardy. fact: people with allergies here regularly get violently ill because they feel pressured to use a meal plan barnard promised at the meal plan's CREATION they wouldn't have to purchase, and *people are having to pay up to $14,000* that the school actively told them in the first place they wouldn't have to pay (i.e., with part time).

        these are HUGE concerns, and they affect a surprising amount of people here! how can you sit at your computer, knowing that these are your classmates and FRIENDS, and call this an "abuse" of freedom of speech?????????

    • Haha

      Yes, "as intelligent, righteous and socially-aware as their neighbors across the street". Because that's what everyone thinks of Columbia.

  14. Anonymous

    Lockdown? I'm not surprised. Are you aware that as of this year, Barnard is making their public safety, security, and facilities departments FINGER BIOSCAN to clock in and out/enter and leave? They want to make it campus wide, for at least staff level employees. (Somehow I doubt that Spar and her new corporate-reject administration will be finger scanned). The head of security is out of control. Do you think she cares about the students or their safety, much less their rights? The union is fighting the bioscanning as it went in against contract. it's just disgusting.

    • Anonymous

      This really isn't an outrage. I've had part time jobs where we used finder bioscans/those machines where it measures the grip of your hand. It's more efficient than clocking in on a computer and unique to you, so it prevents fraud. I really don't understand how this is "disgusting." And DSpar and her "corporate reject administration" wouldn't get scanned because they're not part-time employees. This administration has certainly made some errors--find something real to be outraged over.

      • Anonymous

        The majority of these employees are FULL TIME, salaried, and work just as hard as Spar. So then, please explain to me the difference between Spar & her admin, and the college's staff. It is amusing and telling you assume they are part time. I'm sure Barnard would love to have entirely part-time staff and faculty so that they don't have to pay for benefits at all, meanwhile pouring millions into new buildings and PR.

        Their union contract, which is a legally binding document, states that no time clocks be used at all, much less finger bioscans. For over a hundred years, Barnard has trusted it's employees. Perhaps that's difficult for you to understand as well. When employees are suspected of fraud for no reason, it has disastrous consequences on both moral and the work quality.

        Bringing in finger bioscans--against a legally binding contract--is both dystopic and demoralizing. I'm not sure why you think that Barnard staff is committing fraud, but it's a disgusting accusation. In fact, your entire comment is deeply disheartening. But perhaps you are fine with a world in which no one trusts each other and people have to be fingerprinted each time they enter their workplace (if they are not upper-middle-class anyway. We can trust the admin).

    • Anonymous

      BIOSCANNING? THAT'S WHERE MY FUCKING TUITION MONEY IS GOING? fucking idiots!

  15. Maida Rosenstein

    This kind of suppression of protest is a significant departure from past practice at Barnard. The unionized staff -- Local 2110 -- is also feeling the change in administration tactics. Barnard's Security Administration seems to view everyone as an enemy and a threat.

© 2006-2015 Blue and White Publishing Inc.